Circumnavigating Jongno


Jongno is one of the oldest major east-west spines in north-central Seoul, connecting Sejongno to Dongdaemun. Historic palaces, gardens, markets, and underground shopping malls (air raid shelters the dual purpose) juxtapose with contemporary office buildings and clusters of restaurants alongside budget and high-end accommodation. A blend of UNESCO sponsored landmarks and bustling crumbling markets and music stores, Jongno’s ability to merge the old with the new make it my favourite destination when I visit Seoul.

I’d originally intended to stay in Chungju this weekend but on Friday I decided to re-trace a a walk I’d first done a couple of years ago, circumnavigating central Jongno. I opened Booking.com to find many of my usual guesthouses booked up and had to settle for 24 Hostel near Jongno-5 ga. Just to warn you off, the reception guy had no social skills or manners, the room was small without seating and the bathroom was a tile short and supported mould across the ceiling.  There was also an off-putting smell which I think was supposed to be nice but reminded me of mothballs. The kitchen was only able to accommodate one cook at a time though the seating areas are fine.  The upstairs outdoor terrace could be pleasant but was unlit and used as a smoking area. Welcome to Seoul! I recommend that this hostel is avoided unless you like to spend the weekend with a multitude of spores, ignore the good reviews, in my humble opinion it’s bollocks!